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Front Page - Friday, October 4, 2019

Area utilities receive trafficking awareness training

Former Sen. Bob Corker shares how this will help fight the problem

Tennessee American Water President Darlene Williams thanks participants from multiple utilities for attending human trafficking awareness training. - Photographs provided

About 40 service technicians from EPB, Chattanooga Gas and Tennessee American Water last week learned how to recognize possible human trafficking during a class led by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Human trafficking occurs when individuals are compelled by force, fraud or coercion to provide labor or sex.

“It was important to come together with our neighboring utilities to help make Chattanooga safer,” said Leah Morrison, Tennessee American Water field operations manager.

During the class, former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker shared information about his efforts to fight human trafficking. While chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he spearheaded the passage of legislation that led to the creation of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.

“Never before in the history of the world have more people lived in slavery – whether bonded labor or sexual servitude,” Corker said. “But through efforts like this, we can continue to make progress in our fight to stop it.”

While sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking, labor trafficking is also an issue. Industries include agriculture, manufacturing, construction and restaurants.

Human trafficking is the second most prevalent crime in the world.

Class participants learned to spot incidents of human trafficking by looking for telltale signs.

Often, multiple victims live in the same home. Sparse furnishings or personal items, multiple mattresses and high security features such as bars on the windows or padlocks on interior doors could be signs.

A lot of cash or condoms present could also be signs of sex trafficking. In businesses, victims might be forced to live in the building where they work, or their traffickers might transport them to and from the job site.

Workers who are afraid to answer questions or look malnourished or in ill health could also be a sign. Another sign is branding.

Suspicious activity may be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888 373-7888).

Source: Tennessee American Water